RTC Final Four Tidbits: 03.31.10Posted by rtmsf on April 1st, 2010
Each day this week during the regional rounds of the NCAA Tournament we’re asking some of our top correspondents to put together a collection of notes and interesting tidbits about each region. If you know of something that we should include in tomorrow’s submission, hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Butler (Andrew Murawa)
- If you didn’t already have plenty of reasons to root for the Bulldogs this weekend, how about the fact that senior forward Avery Jukes has already formed a foundation dedicated to aiding poor children and helping them with their education. I don’t know about you, but when I was 22 the foundation I was most interested in starting in my name likely had Beer Fund at the title.
- The question remains about how big of a home-court advantage Butler will have this weekend. The Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone thinks it will be, well, substantial.
- For those Bulldog fans that aren’t able to get inside Lucas Oil Stadium for the games, they can head over to Hinkle Fieldhouse for a viewing party, with donations supporting the Jukes Foundation.
- But if you do need tickets, don’t go trying to look up Brad Stevens, as he has already passed the “ticket business” on down the line.
- As great of an accomplishment as the Final Four is, Stevens claims that the Bulldogs going undefeated in the Horizon League was their biggest feat of the year. So what if he’s about the only one who thinks that?
- Not only is this Bulldog team in the Final Four, they are also a very young team, with only two contributing seniors on the squad and a trio of sophomores who were largely overlooked in the recruiting process.
West Virginia (Ryan Restivo of SienaSaintsBlog)
- A West Virginia fan had a very interesting fan experience early in March, but made sure to watch Villanova-West Virginia on March 6 before checking in to the hospital for a heart attack. USA Today notes, she got a surprise visit from Da’Sean Butler.
- It’s been a little over two years since Duke and WVU met in the NCAA Tournament, and both teams feel that they have matured in the interim.
- WVU Alum Bob Huggins has brought the Mountaineers to the top.
- Meanwhile The Philadelphia Inquirer notes the Mountaineers’ strength is rebounding and defense.
- Bucky Waters, who was head coach at Duke and West Virginia, expects a good game.
- Duke and its opponent West Virginia are two of the best teams in the country at getting extra chances at the basket from offensive rebounds and turnovers. According to an analysis from The Audacity of Hoops, the Devils and Mountaineers average between six and seven extra chances per game.
- The (Duke) Chronicle’s Gabe Starosta gives insight into what the Duke campus if feeling this week in Durham.
- Stewart Mandel of SI makes the case that this year’s Duke team isn’t anywhere near hateable, and should actually have you rooting for them this weekend (almost).
- Kyle Singler’s handiwork created a t-shirt image to celebrate Duke’s unbeaten home slate this season. He is expected to create another image to commemmorate Duke’s trip to the Final Four.
Michigan State (Tom Hager)
- Michigan State coach Tom Izzo decided to take a bus to Indianapolis rather than fly, as part of a team bonding experience. On their way to the bus, the team was greeted by hundreds of fans.
- Larry Lage, who got to sit with Izzo as he made his game preparations, points out that if MSU wins the title this year, Izzo would have the highest all-time winning percentage in NCAA tournament history.
- Beyond The Arc stated something that has largely been untold: although Izzo’s sixth final four appearance is impressive, they did not have to face a difficult path to win their regional.
- Although Kalin Lucas’ achilles injury may diminish a large part of MSU’s offensive production, it is possible that the biggest hole in their team is the lack of leadership.
- According to Izzo, for the first time in years, he feels his team is as good as any other team left.